The Hoekstra-Harman Hoax

by , September 16, 2006

For the War Party, deception isn’t just a tactic, or even a strategy – it’s a lifestyle. That’s why they’re indifferent to getting caught. Like a hardened criminal arrested for his umpteenth felony, the neocons see brazen lying as just a routine procedure. Caught red-handed, they just move on to their next subterfuge, one invariably designed to drag us into war.

That is the only way to explain what Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Jane Harman thought they were doing when they released their “report” [.pdf] on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, which – as the International Atomic Energy Agency puts it – is chock full of “erroneous, misleading, and unsubstantiated information.” In a letter [.pdf] to House Intelligence Committee chairman Hoekstra, IAEA official Vilmos Cserveny takes “strong exception” to “incorrect and misleading” claims in the report that the IAEA fired an inspector, one Christopher Charlier, for giving the Iranians a hard time. He was let go, says the Hoekstra-Harman report, because he went up against an alleged policy “barring IAEA officials from telling the whole truth about the Iranian nuclear program,” as Hoekstra-Harman put it. This conspiracy theory is put to rest by Cserveny, who curtly informs the American Congress that Iran is fully within its rights, under the Nonproliferation Treaty, to ask for the replacement of one inspector out of over 200 which it has accepted.

Cserveny points out, as did some in the blogosphere when the report first came out, that the “weapons grade” enrichment described by Hoekstra-Harman as occurring at Natanz is a complete fabrication. Why, it was only last April, Cserveny reminds the esteemed members of the House, that the inspectors verified a 3.6 percent enrichment rate – not the 90 percent or more required to qualify as “weapons grade.”

The lies pile up, one placed upon another until an edifice of massive deception is constructed, a narrative that can convince the American people to go along with the effort to start World War III (or IV, as some would have it). Iran, the latest target of the regime-changers, is in America’s sights, and we aren’t going to let such a paltry consideration as the facts get in our way. Hoekstra-Harman have no interest in reality: their “report” is war propaganda, pure and simple. That’s why they shrieked that Iran is “covertly” producing polonium-210, a substance with “two known uses,” one of which is to produce nukes (the other is to make satellite batteries). Who cares if Iran is not required, under the terms of the NPT, to provide information about P-210 production? It sounds scary, and the average reader – and reporter – is not going to know what is entailed – or that the UN has made an investigation [.pdf] in good faith to determine the nature and extent of Iran’s P-210 production. Instead, they are expected to swallow the conspiracy narrative woven by Hoekstra-Harman that depicts the IAEA as the Iranians’ willing instrument. After all, isn’t the head of the IAEA named ElBaradei? Don’tcha know those ragheads are all in on it together?

The War Party has learned nothing and has no regrets, and this willful blindness is underscored by the latter half of the Hoekstra-Harman duo. Even as the Democrats rail against the “quagmire” in Iraq, and decry the conduct of that war, their leaders are intent on dragging us into yet another conflict, this time much bigger, and with far more mire.

Harman has referred to Israel’s murderous assault on Lebanon as “draining the swamp,” and her position on Iran isn’t much better: Her solution to the Iranian problem is to “recruit a much more diverse group of spies with cultural sensitivity” – rather than rely on the IAEA. I see she’s learned a thing or two since her “debate” with Richard Perle at AIPAC’s 2005 shindig, when she fell over herself agreeing with the Dark Prince of the War Party, as chronicled by Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank:

“Perle drew cheers for denouncing Palestinian anti-Semitism and the French. Harman mentioned that an aide once worked for AIPAC, called her audience ‘very sophisticated’ and celebrated Yasser Arafat’s death as ‘a blessing.’ Debating a hard-liner in front of a pro-administration crowd, Harman heaped praise on President Bush, calling the Iraqi elections ‘sensationally impressive’ and moving to ‘applaud’ or ‘commend’ Perle and the administration a dozen times. ‘Richard is right, and so is President Bush,’ she said at one point.

“But after half an hour of this, Harman could not keep up. Perle provoked cheers from the crowd when he favored a military raid on Iran, saying that ‘if Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, I think we will have no choice but to take decisive action.’ When Harman said the ‘best short-term option’ is the UN Security Council, the crowd reacted with boos.”

Harman and her Democratic colleagues have no dispute with the Republicans – and the far-right neocons epitomized by Perle – when it comes to Iran. Both are determined to protect Israeli interests, at the expense of American interests, by threatening to go to war if Iran continues to pursue its apparent goal of joining the nuclear club, along with its neighbors, Israel and Pakistan. Everybody knows that what John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt call “the Lobby” is behind the current campaign to gin up another Middle Eastern war, this time with Iran. Israel’s recent incursion into Lebanon was but a dress rehearsal for the main event – which is coming no matter how badly the Lebanese adventure turns out.

It is coming because there is simply no opposition to the Lobby‘s ironclad control of the U.S. Congress. The defense of Israel overrides and effectively neutralizes all other considerations. It doesn’t matter that a confrontation with Iran will create yet more terrorists determined to strike at America, it is deemed an act of “appeasement” to point out that, if we contained the nuclear-armed Soviets for half a century, we could easily deter the Iranians from attacking our Middle Eastern allies – and it is considered beyond the pale to note that the advocates of war with Iran are serving the interests of a foreign power, namely Israel, over and above what is clearly in American interests.

Nuclear weapons are already in the Middle East, and if we’re going to be putting pressure on nations to get rid of their “weapons of mass destruction,” then why not start with the number-one nuclear recalcitrant in the region? Israel – which disdains the NPT altogether – has hundreds of nukes, and God knows where they’re aimed. The Europeans are worried that the Iranians are targeting their cities, but who knows whether some future prime minister of Israel might, in a fit of pique, decide to take out Paris or Rome?

Seriously, though, we can see why Iran wants to acquire at least a nuclear capability: with Israel armed to the teeth with nukes, and Pakistan on the eastern frontier, Tehran is surely allowed to defend itself – or is that a right reserved exclusively for the Israelis? The Iranians, too, are concerned about another potential aggressor, namely us. As U.S. officials continue to issue a steady stream of threats directed at Tehran, the Iranians can plainly see that North Korea gets treatment of an entirely different order – not even a hint of a “regime change” policy on that front. In light of America’s self-proclaimed policy of military “preemption,” which supposedly gives us the “right” to attack any nation, anywhere, for any trumped-up reason, the Iranians would have to be crazy not to develop a nuclear weapons program, ASAP.

Like a bully spoiling for a fight, the U.S. is pushing the Iranians hard, and it is only a matter of time before the Iranians push back. When that battle comes, and the Democrats try to escape their own major responsibility for the inevitable disaster, remember that they, too, signed on to the Hoekstra report and joined their voices to the chorus demanding “action” against Tehran.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

Check out the Sept. 25 issue of The American Conservative for my article on the forgotten legacy of 9/11 – the still-mysterious anthrax attacks. And read this for the latest on that front:

“Maureen Stevens says the federal government probably knows who killed her husband. She believes they’re not telling because that might reveal things the government doesn’t want revealed.

“Nearly five years after Bob Stevens’ death, the first in the anthrax attacks that terrified a nation, ‘I want to know what happened,’ his widow, who’s sued the government, said Wednesday from her lawyer’s office. ‘I want to go into court and find out what happened. What information’s obviously there. The truth is there.'”

You can say that again, lady – the truth is there, alright, in publicly accessible records, including a series of excellent pieces in the Hartford Courant from several years ago, and a good piece in Salon. But the FBI apparently doesn’t read the American media, and isn’t interested in any case. And if that irks you or in any way causes you to wonder why, then go check out The American Conservative, read it – and weep. Because, you know, the perpetrators are still at large, and the public is due for another scare just about now…

Read more by Justin Raimondo